ALEXANDER S. WEBB, ex-officio.
WILLIAM WOOD, ex-officio.











College of the City of New York.

THE COLLEGE OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK was established, under the name of the Free Academy, by an act of the State Legislature, passed on the 7th of May, 1847, and ratified by the votes of the people on the 9th of June, 1849. One of the first measures of the Board of Education, to whose care it had been confided, was to provide it with a library. Even prior to the ratification, the Board had taken steps towards this end. On the 22d of January, 1849, it petitioned the Legislature for $15,000, to be devoted to the purchase of a library. Though this request seems not to have been granted, the Board determined no longer to delay action. Of course the beginnings of the library were small; books to the value of $369.49 were bought as the basis of the present collection. In September, 1852, there were in the library two thousand nine hundred and sixty volumes. These had been purchased with the share of the Literature Fund apportioned by the school law to the Free Academy. The same year the Board of Education proceeded to organize the library and to regulate its administration. One of the professors was appointed librarian, and the use of the books was restricted to such of the students of the four higher classes as had deserved a certain proportion of marks. This provision remained in force until 1870.

Professor Anthon, now as then the head of the department of History and Belles Lettres, was the first librarian. He was assisted in his duties by the Registrar of the College, Mr. William Oland Bourne. After serving gratuitously for a year, Prof. Anthon was succeeded by the late Professor J. Graeff Barton. The latter was appointed in 1854, and in September of that year reported the number of volumes in the library as three thousand. Under his care the library continued to increase, and in 1857, the last year of his administration, had reached six thousand and fifty volumes. Professor Barton was succeeded in 1857 by Jos. O. Nodyne, who remained in charge of the library until 1863.

Library of the College of the City of New York.

During his term of office the first catalogue was printed. No statistics are given in the catalogue itself, but from the report of the Board of Education, made in 1860, the year of its publication, the library contained at the time seven thousand four hundred volumes. In 1863, Mr. Nodyne was succeeded by Mr. J. H. Chambers. Thus far the library had been supported and enlarged solely from the share of the Literature Fund allowed the Free Academy; but in that year the income from the Grosvenor Fund became available for its increase and maintenance. This fund is a bequest of $30,000 made to the Board of Education, in the year 1857, the income of which, according to the testator's will, is to be applied under certain conditions to the purchase of books for the library of the College. Nothing could have been more opportune than this legacy. In 1866 the Free Academy was erected into a College, and since then the library has been mainly dependent for its increase on the Grosvenor Fund. Mr. Chambers retired from his position in 1869, stating the number of volumes in the library at fifteen thousand, whilst Mr. John T. Cuming, who succeeded him after an interval of a few months, during which Mr. N. W. Blunt held the office of librarian, stated the number of volumes in the library (1873) at twenty-two thousand. This statement, however, is entirely unreliable, as it was evidently based on conjectural estimates, whilst even the earlier numbers were obtained by adding the volumes acquired each year to the totals of the preceding year, no allowance being made for losses.


Meantime two evils had begun to be felt, that called for speedy remedy. The first was a want of system in the selection of the books. In 1869, the first year of President Webb's administration, a library committee from the Faculty was appointed, whose approval was necessary before any books could be bought by the librarian, and who, in fact, determined what books were to be purchased. Prof. Anthon was the chairman of this committee, and to his learning and industry the library owes not a few of its most interesting works. The labors of the committee came to a close in December, 1872, in accordance with the suggestion of a report made by Dr. Holland, Mr. W. Wood, the present energetic chairman of the Board of Trustees, and Mr. T. Brennan. This suggestion was not owing to any dissatisfaction with the doings of the committee, but to the lack of library room, which was the second evil spoken of above. As early as 1870, Judge Larremore, then President of the Trustees, and President Webb had

Library of the College of the City of New York.

insisted on the necessity of providing more accommodation for the library; but action was deferred. Meantime the library had fallen into confusion, books being stored upon and behind each other, and all traces of classification were fast disappearing. Under the circumstances Messrs. Holland, Wood, and Brennan thought themselves justified in advising that no books be purchased until an additional building was erected for library purposes. This scheme, however,

was never carried out.

In the summer of 1873, the new Executive Committee, under the chairmanship of Mr. A. P. Man, on the recommendation of the President of the College, ordered the room previously used by the Professor of Physics to be furnished with book-cases, and at the same time removed the restrictions placed on the purchase of books. In January, 1874, the committee, after many years of experience, finding that they could secure both greater efficiency and economy by placing the library in charge of one of the Faculty, the present librarian was appointed. Immediately after his accession the new librarian reclassified and rearranged the entire library, and then began to prepare the present catalogue. Meantime, in 1875, Mr. R. G. Beardslee succeeded Mr. Man, and a new Executive Committee was appointed. Great as had been the interest taken by Mr. Man and his colleagues in the library, the present efficient chairman and committee have given no less support and encouragement to the librarian and his assistant, and it is to their energy and wisdom that the publication of the present catalogue is chiefly due.

In September, 1876, the library contained seventeen thousand five hundred and seventy-one volumes, distributed as follows:

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Library of the College of the City of New York.

These numbers have been obtained by actual count, and are, therefore, entirely reliable.

This short sketch would be incomplete without some notice of our benefactors. Of these the chief is Mr. Seth M. Grosvenor, of whose munificent bequest we have already spoken. Mr. Grosvenor, however, was not the first to leave a legacy to the College library. In 1852, Mr. Ephraim Holbrook had bequeathed $5,000 for the increase and maintenance of the library, but it was only during the past year that the money has become available for use. Besides these, our chief benefactors, the library is indebted both to the United States and the State and City Governments for many important and valuable publications; nor must the managers of the Smithsonian Institute be forgotten. Among the other donors, to whom thanks are hereby returned, are Messrs. R. L. and A. Stuart, to whose generosity the library owes a valuable set of the Apostolic Fathers, the Hon. B. A. Willis, the Hon. A. S. Hewitt, Mr. De Peyster, President Webb, Mr. J. D. Hamersley, Professors Anthon, Roemer, Werner, Spencer, Rev. P. C. Sinding, and doubtless some other gentlemen, whose names it was impossible to ascertain.


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